The South Aegean includes the Cyclades and Dodecanese island groups. Among the most popular tourist destinations are Santorini, Rhodes, Kos and Mykonos, but there are many other beautiful islands, each with their own character and appeal.
The South Aegean islands, offer something for everyone, including history, culture, peaceful villages, and lively resorts. You can find well priced properties with panoramic views a short drive from towns with amenities. Here we will take a look at some of these island, with examples of property for sale there.
South Aegean region
Together the islands of the South Aegean sea make up one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. The capital of the region is the city of Ermoupoli, on the island of Syros. In the ten years leading up to 2021 it was the only region in Greece to see a rise in its population figures, adding a total of 15,527 people, an increase of 5%. It appears that more and more people are choosing to move here, as well as buy holiday homes.
South Aegean climate
Many house buyers are attracted to the Aegean islands because they are blessed with so much sunshine. The South Aegean has a Mediterranean climate. There is some rain in the winter, but it is very dry in the summer months. However, there is a wind that comes from the Northwest during the summer.
The cooler and wetter period of winter lasts from November to March, while the hottest dry period of summer is from June to August. From April to May and September to October the weather is less predictable, but with pleasant temperatures for sight-seeing.
South Aegean is one of the warmest regions in Greece. From June to September temperatures reach highs of over 30 degrees. In the winter midday temperatures are generally about 15 degrees and it is rare for them to drop lower than 5 degrees around the coast.
Which south Aegean islands have airports?
The Dodecanese complex of Greek islands has seven airports. The most popular island and largest airport is located on Rhodes. More than 5.5 million people fly through Rhodes International Airport each year. More than 60 airlines fly into Rhodes airport, although mostly only during the summer months. However, Rhodes is also an excellent winter time destination, and you can still find flights during the winter, if you travel via Athens.
You will also find airports in the smaller Dodecanese islands of Kos, Kalymnos and Karpathos. Flights to Kos can be found all year from Athens and Thessaloniki. The duration from Athens to Kos is 1 hour. Kos airport serves 2.5 million visitors each year. The busiest airport after Rhodes and Kos is Karpathos.
The islands of the Cyclades are well connected to the rest of Greece and Europe. Santorini is the most popular of the airports, with around 2.3 million visitors each year. More than twenty airlines fly into Santorini and you will find plenty of direct flights from European cities during the summer months. Mykonos International Airport is also among the busiest Greek airports. Outside of the two main airports you can also fly into Paros, Naxos, Milos and Syros.
South Aegean islands
Photos of the blue domed churches and whitewashed houses of Santorini, have made the island one of the most wished for holiday destinations in Greece. Sunny days relaxing under blue skies, while gazing out at the blue Aegean sea make Santorini the perfect escape. Here you can enjoy romantic evenings, at restaurants that offer exceptional hospitality. As you sip a glass of wine produced in vineyards of volcanic soil, the Santorini subset is sure to enchant you.
The volcanic beaches, the cobblestone paths, the medieval castles and the churches and monasteries carved into the cliffs make Santorini holidays a truly unique experience. Santorini’s beautiful appearance has been celebrated by some of the greatest Greek poets, and depicted on several pieces of art by famous artists and photographers.
As one of the most exclusive and desirable tourist destinations rental potential is good. The island attracts high-class travellers from around the world and so also commands premium prices, especially for luxury accommodation.
Luxury Villa in Monolithos, Santorini €890,000
Kea island, also known as Tzia, is a lovely island located to the south of Attica not far from Athens. Although it is part of the Cyclades, the architecture isn’t typical of the Cycladic islands. Instead of whitewashed cubic houses and blue-domed churches, the architecture is more neoclassical with elegant houses, painted in earthy colours.
Loulida and Vourkari are the most picturesque villages on the island, and there are hiking paths leading to stunning views and places of interest. Such as, the archeological site of Ancient Kathea and the ancient stone-carved lion, known as the Lion of Ioulis (or Liontas), which was carved sometime prior to 600 BC.
Due to its proximity to Athens, Kea is a popular weekend getaway from the Greek capital. You can get there by ferry from Lavrio Port (the site of the famous silver mines of Ancient Greece). You can also us the island as a base to go island hopping by ferry to other nearby islands, such as Kythnos and Syros. Lovely beaches can be found on Kea at Koundouros and Otzia.
Kea is ideal for families and those who want to avoid the very touristy islands. Venture inland, and you’ll discover the charming town of Chora, which was built on the grounds of the ancient town of Ioulida, capital of Kea from the late Roman to early Byzantine times. Today it’s clay tile-roofs, stone-paved streets, steps and terraces, make it a lovely place to explore.
Luxury villa with sea views, Koundorous, Kea €800,000
Kos is among the most popular Greek holiday destinations for good reason. Its antiquities, monuments and medieval castles alone make it an interesting place to visit. Thanks to the remains of different cultures that once lived here, sightseeing is one of the best things to do on the island.
Firstly, there is Asklepieion, which was one of the top holistic healing centres of the ancient world. Then there are churches, Neratzia medieval castle, the ancient Greek Agora, and Antimachia Castle.
Kos is also known as the “Cycling island”, as riding a bike is very popular here. There is even a 13 km long cycling road, starting from Faros beach and ending at Psalidi beach. In addition, there are many mountain bike trails, for those who like to be surrounded by nature.
At the end of your bike ride you may end up relaxing on one of the islands lovely beaches. The beaches of Tigaki, Paradise and Mastihari, are absolutly stunning. The seaside resorts are high quality with a good infrastructure and lively nightlife. You can also escape to green valleys with hot springs and visit traditional inland villages.
4 bedroom villa near great beaches, Kos island 398,500
Since the 1960s Mykonos has attracted visitors from around the world, looking for a luxury vacation. Hundreds of celebrities and members of the international jet set have strolled through the alleyways of Chora or moored their yachts in the crystal blue bays.
The island’s visitors can enjoy a lively nightlife at its beach bars and clubs, and shop at its luxury stores and art venues. In the town of Chora you will find, brand name stores, jewellery shops, galleries and some of the most well-known restaurants and bars in Greece.
However, Mykonos’s star attraction is its gorgeous beaches, which are considered to be among the most beautiful in the Aegean. There is a beach for everyone, from nudists to families with young children. Some have expensive sunbeds and watersports, while others are more natural. The beaches on the southern coast of the island, are the most protected from the winds. However, those in the north are usually less crowded. Therefore when buying a property you should check that the local beach suits your needs.
During the summer, many of the villages on Mykonos celebrate saint days. One of the biggest celebrations is held in honour of the Saint Aghia Paraskevi. The festivities begin in local churches and continue in the streets and squares, where the locals hold processions and feasts accompanied by live music and traditional dancing.
Detached house in Mykonos in Elia 520,000
Naxos has it all, incredible beaches, beautiful scenery, fascinating ancient sites to explore and if you love eating out the food is pretty delicious too.
Naxos is the largest island of the Cyclades group of islands. In fact, it is large enough to need a car, if you want to explore the whole island. Their are ancient ruins and medieval structures to discover, including the famous Portara, which is a large marble doorway. Then there is the ancient temple of Dimitra and Kastrow castle.
Most of the beaches are relatively near the capital town, also called Naxos. Some beaches are organized with sunbeds etc. but at most you are free to take your own umbrellas. Meaning you are able to choose a spot away from other people. The Cycladic islands are generally windy making Naxos perfect for windsurfing and kite-surfing.
Most of the beaches are of fine sand and there are long stretches. Agios Georgios, is a perfect example. The beach shelves out very shallow for quite some distance. You can also find tavernas right behind the beach.
Although Naxos isn’t a “wild party island”, there is a great night life. Eating out is the most popular way to spend an evening and restaurants are reasonably priced. There are also quiet picturesque villages, by the sea, in the mountains and in agricultural areas.
Small hotel in Agkidia, Naxos 680,000
Andros is the second largest Cycladic island after Naxos, and being one of the nearest to Athens it is less than two hours away from the port of Rafina. If you catch the high speed ferry it can take as little as one hour.
Amongst the beautiful landscape there are many special sights to discover. Such as, the light house of Fassa, old watermills, secluded beaches, waterfalls and the spring of Pythara. There are many dirt roads and tracks to explore. Some of which can be visited by jeep safari. On a hike you’ll see walnut, chestnut, oak and olive trees. Another popular activity on Andros is windsurfing at Ormos beach.
Andros is unique in its architecture and history. Typical Aegean style houses stand along side neoclassical buildings, Venetian towers, and fortresses. It is especially known for its cosmopolitan atmosphere. Around the picturesque villages, you can see Venetian towers as well as rural houses.
35 km West of Gavrio port is the most picturesque village on Andros. The village of Chora, is a beautiful place to stroll around, or to visit the Museum of Modern Art, which organizes art exhibitions every summer. Chora owes its architectural beauty to the sea captains that built grand houses here. They probably chose Chora due to its picturesque seaside location. Built on a small peninsula, between the two long sandy beaches of Neiborio and Paraporti, the village looks idyllic.
The gate of the old town has been preserved, and there is stone paving, narrow alleyways and two lovely squares, with cafes, restaurants and pastry shops. Nearby are other gorgeous villages, such as Messaria, Menites, Stenies, and Apikia, where the famous Sariza spring is located.
Detached house with panoramic views in Chora, Andros €180,000
Chios, is separated from Turkey by the Chios Strait. It is a big island that is ideally navigated by car. Nicknamed “the Mastic Island”, Chios is most famous for its exports of mastic gum. Tourist attractions include its medieval villages and the 11th-century monastery of Nea Moni, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The mountain villages and Chios Town, with its population of over 26,000 people, stay lively even in the winter period. Chios is home to the University of the Aegean’s business studies program, so there are always a few students about. It is only the in the very touristy resorts that you’ll find restaurants closed in the winter.
Mastica is the flavoured resin produced by a particular mastic tree, that grows only on the island of Chios. Famous for its healing qualities and unique flavour, an entire industry has been created based on Chios mastica. There are now over fifty products ranging from gum to shampoo. In Southern Chios there are twenty four mastic-producing villages, called “mastichochoria” where you can see the harvest and sample mastica products. If you take a wander through the winding paths of Pyrgi and Mesta, you will find medieval architecture.
The Chios coastline offers stunning beaches, like the darkly pebbled Mavros Gialos and the soft sandy Komi Beach. Whether you like organized or secluded beachfronts, with over seventy to choose from, you are sure to find one that suits your taste.
Stone built house in Kini, on Chios Island €220,000
Rhodes is located northeast of Crete, and southeast of Athens. The island has several nicknames, such as “Island of the Sun” due to its patron sun god Helios, and “The Island of the Knights”, named after the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, who ruled the island from 1310 to 1522. Today, Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands of Greece, with a population of over 125,000.
After Crete, the island is the most visited destination in Greece. The Old Town of Rhodes with its stone-paved streets and elegant mansions is a listed World Heritage Site. The most important places to visit are in the historic centre, home to the Palace of the Grand Master, the Street of the Knights, and the old port of Mandraki.
Outside the town of Rhodes, the island is dotted with gorgeous small villages of whitewashed homes and resorts, among them Faliraki, Lindos, Kremasti, Haraki, Pefkos, Archangelos, Afantou, Koskinou, Embona (Attavyros), Paradisi, and Trianta (Ialysos). Other sites around the island worth a visit include, the Acropolis of Lindos, the Monastery of Filerimos, the Springs of Kallithea and various castles.
Rhodes has many wonderful beaches such as Tsambika, Ladiko, Kallithea, Saint Paul’s Bay. Rhodes beaches offer various amenities, including hotels, tavernas, bars and watersports. Most importantly, all beaches on Rhodes have crystal clear waters and outstanding natural beauty.
On Rhodes windsurfing and kite surfing is very popular. The best windsurfing spot is Prassonissi, on the southern side of the island, but Theologos, Ixia and other beaches close to Rhodes Town are also great for water sports.
Spacious villa in Spathinsos, island of Rhodes €375,000